17th April 2014

‘Dead Behind Bars’: 9pm, Thursday 24 April, BBC Three

Jake Hardy and Ryan Clark, whose families INQUEST has been working with since their deaths, are two of three young people who died in prison to be featured in a brand new documentary ‘Dead Behind Bars’, made for BBC Three by Lambent Productions. INQUEST has been collaborating with and advising Lambent throughout development and filming.

Jake Hardy and Ryan Clark were both 17 when they died at Young Offenders Institutions: Ryan at HMYOI Wetherby in April 2011 and Jake at HMYOI Hindley in January 2012.  Both had hanged themselves. 

The film also features the family of a third young man, Adam Rushton, who was 20 years old when he hanged himself in HMYOI Brinsford in 2009.

The film was inspired by INQUEST’s groundbreaking 2012 report, Fatally Flawed, which examined deaths in prison of children and young people aged 24 and under. Building on this authoritative work, INQUEST worked strategically, in alliance with others, calling for a review into young deaths in prison. In February the government agreed to commission an independent review into the deaths of 18-24 year olds.  We are continuing to call for the remit to be broadened to include an examination of the deaths of children such as Ryan and Jake whose stories are so powerfully presented in this film.

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:

“The deaths of children and young people in prison should be a national scandal prompting national debate and government action.  Inquest after inquest shows that many of the deaths could and should have been prevented and that the mechanisms set up to protect vulnerable young people are failing.

“We are pleased to have been involved in the development of this important film. Through families’ voices the reality of what is done to some of our most vulnerable children and young people is powerfully exposed and underlines why an overhaul of the treatment of children and young people in conflict with the law is so desperately needed.”

Emma Wakefield, Executive Producer at Lambent Productions said:

“This powerful film tells a shocking story. Articulated through the experiences of the bereaved families it offers a very personal look at what happens when your child dies behind bars. Since we started filming in September 2013, 9 young people aged 21 and under have died.”


Notes to editors:

  1. In the last five years, 76 children and young people aged 24 and under have died in prison. 65 of these deaths were self-inflicted.  INQUEST’s briefing on the need for an independent review of the deaths of both children and young people aged 18-24 is available here
  2. The film is being broadcast on BBC Three at 9pm on Thursday 24 April 2014.
  3. LAMBENT PRODUCTIONS- Voted one of the most creative companies in the UK, Lambent has been making, award-winning documentaries, and factual series for the last 17 years. Recent hits include OUT OF JAIL AND ON THE STREETS for BBC1, a film following probation officers dealing with the most difficult offenders in the community, and THE SECRET LIFE OF RUBBISH a series looking at the history of Britain through what we’ve thrown away for BBC4. Lambent also made the RTS award-winning BBC3 documentary series KIDS BEHIND BARS.